A former moderator of TNC’s comments section, Sandy Young, writes:
That was a good piece on the Horde. I would disagree to some extent with Jim’s claim that we “drove away” dissenting voices like Amichel—who, if memory serves, continued to post right up to the reparations article. But that’s small potatoes.
In keeping with the Horde/Khan/Steppes metaphor, I would remind people that, while it was thrilling, being a member of the Horde was also a hard bloody ride. You had to follow along as people far more knowledgeable dove into difficult topics, and you had to search for sources to defend your positions. And more often than not, you had to let go of that stubborn insistence that you were right. As I said to one commentator who had just apologized for handing me my ass, “This is no place to be if you can’t stand being wrong.”
You have linked before to some of the more memorable conversations, such as oatmeal. But I wonder if you have read what, in my opinion, was TNC and the Horde at its best: his pieces on “The Civil War Isn’t Tragic.” That was an on-going discussion, analysis and scholarship that is unsurpassed in the records of the Horde.
The Horde was always a delicate balance. As TNC’s fame grew, he became a bigger target, and no amount of moderation would have stopped the attacks. It simply wasn’t a platform built for that. Most of us miss it, but we go better armed into the world of ideas because of it, and for that, I am eternally grateful.
From another member, silentbeep:
The Horde is not dead, not really. We still talk to each online in other mediums, such as the five-year-old Facebook group we would periodically advertise in the OTANs. (The group is only for TNC commenters, or now past commenters, with extremely rare exceptions, and TNC knows of its existence.) We even meet offline. Erik’s tone made it seem like we’re far gone, and that’s just not the case.
Dan Fox shares a wonderful, in-person memory:
As a member of the Horde, I wanted to relay a story about Ta-Nehisi from his early days at The Atlantic, when had dinner with me on my birthday.